The Devils on Tuesday rewarded their 2019 No. 1 draft pick with an eight-year, $64 million deal, announcing the move hours before the young center returned to the ice against the Sharks after being out since Oct. 19 with a separated shoulder.
“This is a strong commitment from Jack to the organization’s future and the New Jersey Devils to Jack,” managing partner David Blitzer said in a statement. “We all know what Jack means to the team on and off the ice — he’s an unbelievable player and a fantastic person. His future is incredibly bright and he will be a pillar for our franchise for years to come.”
His new deal begins in the 2022-23 season. The 20-year-old had been scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this campaign.
“I’m so excited to sign this deal for myself and for my family,” Hughes said. “I love being in New Jersey, and I love playing in New Jersey. I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else, and we are really building something special. I believe in what we are doing here, and we have a great chance to be successful for a long time. This contract shows that this team is extremely invested in me and I’m also really dedicated to this organization.”
Hughes has two goals and one assist in two games this year. In his first two seasons, along with the two games played this year, he has 55 points (20 goals, 35 assists) in 119 NHL games.
Hughes earned 31 of those points in 56 games played in 2020-21, where he scored 11 goals and had 20 assists. He finished tied for second in the league with 56 takeaways.
Hughes finished second on the Devils in points last season, and led the club with 142 shots on goal. He was the only forward who played in all 56 games.
“It’s a fantastic day for the organization and for our team, and for Jack and his family,” GM Tom Fitzgerald said shortly before Tuesday night’s game. ”It’s a win-win.“
Hughes represented the United States twice at the world juniors in 2018 and 2019. His younger brother, Luke, was New Jersey’s first-round selection, and the fourth overall in the 2021 NHL draft. The defenseman is currently playing at Michigan. His older brother, Quinn, is a defenseman for the Vancouver Canucks.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.